Thesaurus

actuate

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of actuate

1 to cause to function
  • a light actuated by a motion detector
  • the alarm system actuates the door locks

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Antonyms for actuate

2 to set or keep in motion
  • hearing depends on sound vibrations that actuate the complex mechanism of that sensory organ, the ear

Synonyms for actuate

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Frequently Asked Questions About actuate

How does the verb actuate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of actuate are drive, impel, and move. While all these words mean "to set or keep in motion," actuate stresses transmission of power so as to work or set in motion.

turbines actuated by waterpower

When could drive be used to replace actuate?

The synonyms drive and actuate are sometimes interchangeable, but drive implies imparting forward and continuous motion and often stresses the effect rather than the impetus.

a ship driven aground by hurricane winds

Where would impel be a reasonable alternative to actuate?

The words impel and actuate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, impel is usually figurative and suggests a great motivating impetus.

a candidate impelled by ambition

When is it sensible to use move instead of actuate?

In some situations, the words move and actuate are roughly equivalent. However, move is very general and implies no more than the fact of changing position.

moved the furniture

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Time Traveler for actuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of actuate was in 1641

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Actuate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/actuate. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on actuate

Dictionary: Definition of actuate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with actuate

Nglish: Translation of actuate for Spanish Speakers

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